This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma-Sambuddhassa
Chapter I The Buddha
On the fullmoon day of May, in the year 623 B.C., there was born in the district of Nepal an Indian Sakya Prince named Siddhattha Gotama, who was destined to be the greatest religious teacher in the world. Brought up in the lap of luxury, receiving an education befitting a prince, he married and had a son. His contemplative nature and boundless compassion did not permit him to enjoy the fleeting material pleasures of a Royal household. He knew no woe, but he felt a deep pity for sorrowing humanity. Amidst comfort and prosperity, he realized the universality of sorrow. The palace, with all its worldly amusements, was no longer a congenial place for the compassionate prince. The time was ripe for him to depart. Realizing the vanity of sensual enjoyments, in his twenty-ninth year, he renounced all worldly pleasures and donning the simple yellow garb of an ascetic, alone, penniless, wandered forth in search of Truth and Peace. It was an unprecedented historic renunciation; for he renounced not in his old age but in the prime of manhood, not in poverty but in plenty. As it was the belief in the ancient days that no deliverance could be gained unless one leads a life of strict asceticism, he strenuously practiced all forms of severe austerities. "Adding vigil after vigil, and penance after penance," he made a superhuman effort for six long years. His body was reduced to almost a skeleton. The more he tormented his body, the farther his goal receded from him. The painful, unsuccessful austerities which he strenuously practiced proved absolutely futile. He was now fully convinced, through personal experience, of the utter futility of self-mortification which weakened his body and resulted in lassitude of spirit.
Benefiting by this invaluable experience of his, he finally decided to follow an independent course, avoiding the two extremes of selfindulgence and self-mortification. The former retards one's spiritual progress, and the latter weakens one's intellect. The new way which he himself discovered was the Middle Path, Majjhima Patipada, which subsequently became one of the salient characteristics of his teaching. One happy morning, while He was deeply absorbed in meditation, unaided and unguided by any supernatural power and solely relying on His efforts and wisdom, He eradicated all defilements, purified Himself, and, realizing things as they truly are, attained Enlightenment (Buddhahood) at the age of 35. He was not born a Buddha,1 but He became a Buddha by His own striving. As the perfect embodiment of all the virtues He preached, endowed with deep wisdom commensurate with His boundless compassion. He devoted the remainder of His precious life to serve humanity both by example and precept, dominated by no personal motive whatever. After a very successful ministry of 45 long years the Buddha, as every other human being, succumbed to the inexorable law of change, and finally passed away in His 80th year, exhorting His disciples to regard His doctrine as their teacher. The Buddha was a human being. As a man He was born, as a man He lived, and as a man His life came to an end. Though a human being, He became an extraordinary man (Acchariya Manussa), but He never arrogated to Himself divinity. The Buddha laid stress on this important point and left no room whatever for anyone to fall into the error of thinking that He was an immortal divine being. Fortunately there is no deification in the case of the Buddha. It should, however, be remarked that there was no Teacher, "ever so godless as the Buddha, yet none so god-like." The Buddha is neither an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu, as is believed by some, nor is He a savior who freely saves others by His personal salvation. The Buddha exhorts His disciples to depend on themselves for their deliverance, for both purity and defilement depend on oneself. Clarifying His relationship with His followers and emphasizing the importance of self-reliance and individual striving, the Buddha plainly states: "You should exert yourselves, the Tathagatas2 are only teachers." The Buddhas point out the path, and it is left for us to follow that path to obtain our purification.
"To depend on others for salvation is negative, but to depend on oneself is positive." Dependence on others means a surrender of one's effort. In exhorting His disciples to be self-dependent the Buddha says in the Parinibbana Sutta: "Be ye islands unto yourselves, be ye a refuge unto yourselves, seek not for refuge in others." These significant words are self-elevating. They reveal how vital is self-exertion to accomplish one's object and, how superficial and futile it is to seek redemption through benignant saviors and to crave for illusory happiness in an after life through the propitiation of imaginary Gods or by irresponsive prayers and meaningless sacrifices. Furthermore, the Buddha does not claim the monopoly of Buddhahood which, as a matter of fact, is not the prerogative of any specially graced person. He reached the highest possible state of perfection any person could aspire to, and without the close-fist of a teacher he revealed the only straight path that leads thereto. According to the Teaching of the Buddha anybody may aspire to that supreme state of perfection if he makes the necessary exertion. The Buddha does not condemn men by calling them wretched sinners, but, on the contrary, He gladdens them by saying that they are pure in heart at conception. In His opinion the world is not wicked but is deluded by ignorance. Instead of disheartening His followers and reserving that exalted state only to Himself, He encourages and induces them to emulate Him, for Buddhahood is latent in all. In one sense all are potential Buddhas. One who aspires to become a Buddha is called a Bodhisatta, which, literally, means a wisdom-being. This Bodhisatta ideal is the most beautiful and the most refined course of life that has ever been presented to this ego-centric world, for what is nobler than a life of service and purity? As a Man He attained Buddhahood and proclaimed to the world the latent inconceivable possibilities and the creative power of man. Instead of placing an unseen Almighty God over man who arbitrarily controls the destinies of mankind, and making him subservient to a supreme power, He raised the worth of mankind. It was He who taught that man can gain his deliverance and purification by his own exertion without depending on an external God or mediating priests. It was he who taught the ego-centric world the noble ideal of selfless service. It was He who revolted against the degrading caste system and taught equality of mankind and gave equal opportunities for all to distinguish themselves in every walk of life.
He declared that the gates of success and prosperity were open to all in every condition of life, high or low, saint or criminal, who would care to turn a new leaf and aspire to perfection. Irrespective of caste, color or rank He established for both deserving men and women a democratically constituted celibate Order. He did not force His followers to be slaves either to His Teachings or to Himself but granted complete freedom of thought. He comforted the bereaved by His consoling words. He ministered to the sick that were deserted. He helped the poor that were neglected. He ennobled the lives of the deluded, purified the corrupted lives of criminals. He encouraged the feeble, united the divided, enlightened the ignorant, clarified the mystic, guided the benighted, elevated the base, dignified the noble. Both rich and poor, saints and criminals loved Him alike. Despotic and righteous kings, famous and obscure princes and nobles, generous and stingy millionaires, haughty and humble scholars, destitute paupers, down-trodden scavengers, wicked murderers, despised courtesans — all benefited by His words of wisdom and compassion. His noble example was a source of inspiration to all. His serene and peaceful countenance was a soothing sight to the pious eyes. His message of Peace and Tolerance was welcomed by all with indescribable joy and was of eternal benefit to every one who had the fortune to hear and practice it. Wherever His teachings penetrated it left an indelible impression upon the character of the respective peoples. The cultural advancement of all the Buddhist nations was mainly due to His sublime Teachings. In fact all Buddhist countries like Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, etc., grew up in the cradle of Buddhism. Though more than 2500 years have elapsed since the passing away of this greatest Teacher, yet his unique personality exerts a great influence on all who come to know Him. His iron will, profound wisdom, universal love, boundless compassion, selfless service, historic renunciation, perfect purity, magnetic personality, exemplary methods employed to propagate the Teachings, and his final success — all these factors have compelled about onefifth of the population of the world today to hail the Buddha as their supreme Teacher.
Paying a glowing tribute to the Buddha Sri Radhakrishnan states: "In Gautama the Buddha we have a master-mind from the East second to none so far as the influence on the thought and life of the human race is concerned, and, sacred to all as the founder of a religious tradition whose hold is hardly less wide and deep than any other. He belongs to the history of the world's thought, to the general inheritance of all cultivated men, for, judged by intellectual integrity, moral earnestness, and spiritual insight, He is undoubtedly one of the greatest figures in history. In The Three Greatest Men in History H.G. Wells writes: "In the Buddha you see clearly a man, simple, devout, lonely, battling for light — a vivid human personality, not a myth. He too gave a message to mankind universal in character. Many of our best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and discontents are due, he taught, to selfishness. Before a man can become serene he must cease to live for his senses or himself. Then he merges into a great being. Buddha in different language called men to self-forgetfulness 500 years before Christ. In some ways he is nearer to us and our needs. He was more lucid upon our individual importance and service than Christ and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality." St. Hilaire remarks "The perfect model of all the virtues He preaches. His life has not a stain upon it." Fausboll says — "The more I know of Him, the more I love Him." A humble follower of his would say — "The more I know Him, the more I love Him; the more I love Him, the more I know Him."
Chapter II The Dhamma: Is it a Philosophy?
The non-aggressive, moral and philosophical system expounded by the Buddha, which demands no blind faith from its adherents, expounds no dogmatic creeds, encourages no superstitious rites and ceremonies,
who enjoyed the special privilege of hearing all the discourses. The Vinaya Pitaka which is regarded as the sheet anchor to the oldest historic celibate order — the Sangha — mainly deals with rules and regulations which the Buddha promulgated. His distinguished disciples preserved them by committing to memory and transmitting them orally from generation to generation. As the word itself implies. Indian customs. the Tipitaka consists of three baskets. the Basket of Discourses (Sutta Pitaka). about 83 B. A striking contrast between the Tipitaka and the Bible is that the former is not a gradual development like the latter. still exists in its pristine purity. recited the Dhamma. the Tipitaka was. During the reign of the pious Sinhala King Vattagamani Abhaya. while the Venerable Upali recited the Vinaya.. but the sublime Dhamma which He unreservedly bequeathed to humanity. Indirectly it reveals some important and interesting information about ancient history.C. is called the Dhamma and is popularly known as Buddhism. An account of the life and ministry of the Buddha is also given. science. This voluminous Tipitaka. It described in detail the gradual development of the Sasana (Dispensation). Although the Master has left no written records of His Teachings.5 held a convocation to rehearse the Doctrine as was originally taught by the Buddha. etc. . which contains the essence of the Buddha's Teaching. and the Basket of Ultimate Doctrine (Abhidhamma Pitaka). for the first time in the history of Buddhism.but advocates a golden mean that guides a disciple through pure living and pure thinking to the gain of supreme wisdom and deliverance from all evil. as occasion arose. The Tipitaka was compiled and arranged in its present form by those Arahats of old. The all-merciful Buddha has passed away. for the future discipline of the Order of monks (Bhikkhus) and nuns (Bhikkunis). Venerable Ananda Thera. They are the Basket of Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka). is estimated to be about eleven times the size of the Bible. Immediately after His demise 500 chief Arahats3 versed in the Dhamma4 and Vinaya. arts. committed to writing on palm leaves (ola) in Ceylon.
delivered by the Buddha himself on various occasions. 3. There are also several other discourses which deal with both the material and moral progress of His lay followers. Mahavagga Pali — Greater Section 4. There are also a few discourses delivered by some of His distinguished disciples such as the Venerable Sariputta. Cullavagga Pali — Shorter Section 5. Udana (Paeans of Joy) 1. Khuddaka Patha (Shorter texts) 2. as the sermons embodied therein were expounded to suit the different occasions and the temperaments of various persons. There may be seemingly contradictory statements. included in it. Parajika Pali — Major Offenses 2. Khuddaka Nikaya (Smaller Collection). Pacittiya Pali — Minor Offenses (Khandaka): 3. Dhammapada (Way of Truth) 3..The Vinaya Pitaka consists of the five following books: (Vibhanga): 1. or give a detailed reply when He knew the inquirer to be an earnest seeker. but they should not be misconstrued as they were opportunely uttered by the Buddha to suit a particular purpose: for instance. Moggallana. to the self-same question He would maintain silence (when the inquirer is merely foolishly inquisitive). 2. Anguttara Nikaya (Collection of Discourses arranged in accordance with numbers). This Pitaka is divided into five Nikayas or collections. It is like a book of prescriptions. The fifth is subdivided into fifteen books: 1. Ananda. 5. viz: Digha Nikaya (Collection of Long Discourses). 4. Parivara Pali — Epitome of the Vinaya The Sutta Pitaka consists chiefly of discourses. . Most of the sermons were intended mainly for the benefit of Bhikkhus and they deal with the Holy life and with the expositions of the doctrine. etc. Samyutta Nikaya (Collection of Kindred Sayings). Majjhima Nikaya (Collection of Middle-Length Discourses).
To the wise. Sutta Nipata (Collected Discourses) 6. relationship between mind and matter. is minutely described. Peta Vatthu (Stories of Petas) 8. properties of matter. Patisambhida Magga (Analytical Knowledge) 13. In the Sutta Pitaka is found the conventional teaching (vohara desana) while in the Abhidhamma Pitaka is found the ultimate teaching (paramattha-desana). The Abhidhamma Pitaka consists of seven books: 1. sources of matter. Niddesa (Expositions) 12. Cariya Pitaka (Modes of Conduct) The Abhidhamma Pitaka is the most important and the most interesting of the three. an intellectual treat. Iti Vuttaka ("Thus said" Discourses) 5. fundamental units of matter. Therigatha (Psalms of the Sisters) 10. Matter is summarily discussed. are deliberately set aside. Theragatha (Psalms of the Brethren) 9. Nibbana. Vimana Vatthu (Stories of Celestial Mansions) 7. Apadana (Lives of Arahats) 14. Consciousness is defined. and to research scholars. containing as it does the profound philosophy of the Buddha's Teaching in contrast to the illuminating and simpler discourses in the Sutta Pitaka. to the spiritually evolved. to help the understanding of things as they truly are. The composition of each type of consciousness is set forth in detail. Jataka (Birth Stories) 11. an ethical system has been evolved. to realize the ultimate goal. the two composite factors of the so-called being. The Abhidhamma investigates mind and matter. Thoughts are analyzed and classified chiefly from an ethical standpoint. Dhammasangani (Classification of Dhammas) . Abhidhamma is an indispensable guide. Buddhavamsa (The History of the Buddha) 15. food for thought. Irrelevant problems that interest mankind but having no relation to one's purification. and a philosophy has been developed on those lines. are explained. Based on that philosophy. How thoughts arise.4. Mental states are enumerated.
asserts that all phenomenal existence is transitory." He taught what He deemed was absolutely essential for one's purification making no distinction between an esoteric and exoteric . James refers to a stream of consciousness. after a relentless analysis of the mind. 4. everlasting. The Buddha has presented us with no new astounding philosophical theories. It should be understood that the Buddha did not preach all that He knew. what I have taught is comparable to the leaves in my hand. Vibhanga (The book of Divisions) Katha-Vatthu (Points of Controversy) Puggala-Paññatti (Descriptions of Individuals) Dhatu-Katha (Discussion with reference to elements) Yamaka (The Book of Pairs). Patthana (The Book of Relations) In the Tipitaka one finds milk for the babe and meat for the strong. and No-Soul (Anatta) some 2500 years ago while He was sojourning in the valley of the Ganges. forestalled many a modern scientist and philosopher. 7. What I have not taught is comparable to the amount of leaves in the forest. permanent. 6. Bergson advocates the doctrine of change. for the Buddha taught His doctrine both to the masses and to the intelligentsia. 5. Hume. The sublime Dhamma enshrined in these sacred texts. 3. Schopenhauer in his "World as Will and Idea" has presented the truth of suffering and its cause in a Western garb. though he denies not the existence of a permanent reality. and is not concerned with theories and philosophies which may be accepted as profound truths today only to be thrown overboard tomorrow. In his opinion sorrow is conquered "by finding an object of knowledge which is not transient. Sorrow (Dukkha).2." Berkeley proved that the so-called indivisible atom is a metaphysical fiction. concluded that consciousness consists of fleeting mental states. however. He has. (Anicca). Prof. The Buddha expounded these doctrines of Transiency. He explained to us what is within and without so far as it concerns our emancipation. which is unique. On one occasion while the Buddha was passing through a forest He took a handful of leaves and said: "O Bhikkhus. not ephemeral. as ultimately expounded a path of deliverance. deals with truths and facts. Spinoza. nor did He venture to create any new material science. Incidentally. but is immutable.
The subject matter of each is different. is known as Saddha. Here mere belief is dethroned and is substituted by confidence based on knowledge. He was characteristically silent on questions irrelevant to His noble mission. and above all to be realized. cannot strictly be called a mere philosophy because it is not merely the "love of. for it is not "a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being. but both should be treated as parallel teachings. Buddhism no doubt accords with science. Buddhism. therefore." Buddhism does not demand blind faith from its adherents. wisdom. but it is very much more comprehensive. or a student in his teacher. nor is it a subject to be studied from a historical or literary standpoint. Chapter III Is it a Religion? It is neither a religion in the sense in which that word is commonly understood. immediate realization is its ultimate goal. The Dhamma He taught is not merely to be preserved in books. in Pali. since one deals mainly with material truths while the other confines itself to moral and spiritual truths. .doctrine. which. As such the Dhamma is compared to a raft which is meant for the sole purpose of escaping from the ocean of birth and death (Samsara). inducing the search after. and more to be practiced." Buddhism may approximate a philosophy. whereas Buddhism lays special emphasis on practice and realization. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha because it was He who discovered the Path of Deliverance. On the contrary it is to be learned and put into practice in the course of one's daily life. Philosophy deals mainly with knowledge and is not concerned with practice. for without practice one cannot appreciate the truth. The Dhamma is to be studied. The confidence placed by a follower on the Buddha is like that of a sick person in a noted physician.
Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors — (i. these things are praised by the wise. thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). when performed and undertaken. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. he does not make any self-surrender. these things.e. or. To the seekers of truth the Buddha says: "Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay — (i.. these things are blameless.e. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere tradition — (i. Samma-ditthi.. when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow — then indeed do you reject them. as Teacher. instructs us.. these things are censured by the wise.e. thinking that thus have we heard it from a long time). these things are blameworthy. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others. The Buddha gives no such guarantee. these things. "When you know for yourselves — these things are moral.A Buddhist does not seek refuge in the Buddha with the hope that he will be saved by His personal purification.e. by believing what others say without any investigation).. "But when you know for yourselves — these things are immoral. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions." . One could neither purify nor defile another. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable — (i. conduce to well-being and happiness — then do you live acting accordingly. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha. He can exercise his own free will and develop his knowledge even to the extent of becoming a Buddha himself. The starting point of Buddhism is reasoning or understanding. Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. but we ourselves are directly responsible for our purification. Nor does a Buddhist sacrifice his freedom of thought by becoming a follower of the Buddha. in other words. The Buddha. thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything by mere inference.
. "Prayers take the character of private communications. but pay their reverence to what it represents. The Buddha not only speaks of the futility of offering prayers but also disparages a slave mentality.These inspiring words of the Buddha still retain their original force and freshness. An understanding Buddhist. The Buddha says — "He honors me best who practices my teaching best. It seeks for objects of earthly ambitions and ." "He who sees the Dhamma sees me. in offering flowers and incense to an image. It is an active striving. The Buddha does not grant favors to those who pray to Him. designedly makes himself feel that he is in the presence of the living Buddha and thereby gains inspiration from His noble personality and breathes deep His boundless compassion. however. but they are useful as they tend to concentrate one's attention. He tries to follow His noble example. Count Kevserling remarks — "I see nothing more grand in this world than the image of the Buddha. The Bo-tree is also a symbol of Enlightenment. but should rely on himself and win his freedom. selfish bargaining with God. For our own good." Furthermore. An intellectual person could dispense with them as he could easily focus his attention and visualize the Buddha. in Buddhism." With regard to images. it must be mentioned that there are not petitional or intercessory prayers in Buddhism. These external objects of reverence are not absolutely necessary. we pay such external respect but what the Buddha expects from His disciple is not so much obeisance as the actual observance of His Teachings. It is an absolutely perfect embodiment of spirituality in the visible domain. one might argue whether there is no worshiping of images etc. Instead of petitional prayers there is meditation that leads to self-control. A Buddhist should not pray to be saved. Though there is no blind faith. It serves as a tonic both to the heart and the mind. purification and enlightenment. Buddhists do not worship an image expecting worldly or spiritual favors. Meditation is neither a silent reverie nor keeping the mind blank. However much we may pray to the Buddha we cannot be saved. and out of gratitude.
nor "the outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a God or gods having power over their own destiny to whom obedience. Morality is only the preliminary stage on . Since Buddhists do not believe in revelations of a divine being Buddhism does not claim the monopoly of truth and does not condemn any other religion. by religion." — Sri Radhakris hnan In Buddhism there is not. then it is certainly a religion of religions. It deals with one way of life for the monks and another for the laity. an Almighty God to be obeyed and feared. Chapter IV Is Buddhism an Ethical System? It no doubt contains an excellent ethical code which is unparalleled in its perfection and altruistic attitude."6 or a system to get rid of the ills of life. is meant "a teaching which takes a view of life that is more than superficial. omniscient and omnipresent. as in most other religions.inflames the sense of self. service. a teaching which enables those who give it heed to face life with fortitude and death with serenity. and honor are due. The Buddha does not believe in a cosmic potentate. But Buddhism is much more than an ordinary moral teaching. a teaching which furnishes men with a guide to conduct that is in accord with this its in-look. not subservient to any higher supernatural power which controls his destinies and which arbitrarily rewards and punishes. In Buddhism there are no divine revelations or divine messengers. strictly be called a religion because it is neither a system of faith and worship. Meditation on the other hand is selfchange. Buddhism cannot. A Buddhist is. therefore. But Buddhism recognizes the infinite latent possibilities of man and teaches that man can gain deliverance from suffering by his own efforts independent of divine help or mediating priests. a teaching which looks into life and not merely at it. therefore." If.
It is neither self-mortification nor self-indulgence. but he refrains from evil because it retards. It is neither sceptical nor dogmatic. etc. Pain or happiness are the inevitable results of one's actions. but not an end in itself. Vasala Sutta. Dhammika Sutta. The question of incurring the pleasure or displeasure of a God does not enter the mind of a Buddhist. does good because it aids progress to Enlightenment (Bodhi). To understand the exceptionally high standard of morality the Buddha expects from His ideal followers.the Path of Purity. is itself insufficient to gain one's emancipation. Karaniya Sutta. Parabhava Sutta. It should be coupled with wisdom or knowledge (pañña). There are also some who do good because it is good. In one sense Buddhism is not a religion. Mangala Sutta. Vyaggapajja Sutta. . in another sense it is the philosophy of philosophies. though essential. In Buddhism there is no one to reward or punish. In observing the principles of morality a Buddhist should not only regard his own self but also should have a consideration for others we well — animals not excluded. but it is a rational and practical code based on verifiable facts and individual experience. and is a means to an end. refrain from evil because it is bad. Conduct. A Buddhist is aware of future consequences. As a moral teaching it excels all other ethical systems. It should be mentioned that any external supernatural agency plays no part whatever in the moulding of the character of a Buddhist. Buddhism is neither a metaphysical path nor a ritualistic path. but morality is only the beginning and not the end of Buddhism. in another sense it is the religion of religions. Morality in Buddhism is not founded on any doubtful revelation nor is it the ingenious invention of an exceptional mind. Neither hope of reward nor fear of punishment acts as an incentive to him to do good or to refrain from evil. The base of Buddhism is morality. In one sense Buddhism is not a philosophy. Sigalovada Sutta. and wisdom is its apex. one must carefully read the Dhammapada.
and the Middle Way. the Summum Bonum of Buddhism). What is the Noble Truth of Suffering? "Birth is suffering.. but is closely associated with oneself. Seek no external refuge. old age is suffering. till a Buddha. It is neither eternalism nor nihilism. There is no English equivalent that exactly conveys the meaning of the Pali term. an Enlightened One. The original Pali term for Buddhism is Dhamma. It lies hidden from the ignorant eyes of men." — Parinibbana Sutta Chapter V Some Salient Features of Buddhism The foundations of Buddhism are the four Noble Truths — namely. Nibbana. realizes and compassionately reveals it to the world. It is a means of Deliverance from suffering. with the Dhamma as a Refuge.e. Whether the Buddhas arise or not the Dhamma exists. It is a unique Path of Enlightenment. It is the Doctrine of Reality. death is suffering. It is neither absolutely this-worldly nor other-worldly. its cause (i. which. means that which upholds. Suffering (the raison d'etre of Buddhism). to be . Craving). The Dhamma is that which really is. its end (i. This Dhamma is not something apart from oneself. disease is suffering. to be united with the unpleasant is suffering.e. with oneself as a Refuge. and Deliverance itself. Abide with the Dhamma as an island. literally. As such the Buddha exhorts: "Abide with oneself as an island..It is neither pessimism nor optimism.
Scientifically interpreted. But it does not thereby follow that Buddhism is pessimistic. which delights now here now there." What is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering? "It is the craving which leads from rebirth to rebirth accompanied by lust of passion. total annihilation of this very craving."8 What is the Noble Truth of the Annihilation of Suffering? "It is the remainderless. it teaches a truth that lies midway between them. right endeavor. These two embrace the entire body of the Buddha's Teachings. right speech." What is the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Annihilation of Suffering? "It is the Noble Eightfold Path which consists of right understanding. and right concentration. based on that philosophy. but. do I proclaim the world. The Buddha states: "In this very one-fathom long body along with perceptions and thoughts. the fourth represents the ethics of Buddhism. the forsaking of it. The first three represent the philosophy of Buddhism. in brief the five Aggregates of Attachment are suffering.separated from the pleasant is suffering. deliverance from it. right livelihood. for existence (Bhavatanha)7 and for annihilation (Vibhavatanha). Buddhism rests on the pivot of sorrow. It is neither totally pessimistic nor totally optimistic. the origin of the world. on the contrary. One would be justified in calling the Buddha a pessimist if He had only enunciated the Truth of suffering without ." Here the term world is applied to suffering. right action. All these four truths are dependent on this body itself. right mindfulness. right thoughts. the breaking loose. The Buddhas only reveal these Truths which lay hidden in the dark abyss of time. it is the craving for sensual pleasures (Kamatanha). not to receive what one craves for is suffering. the end of the world and the path leading to the end of the world. fleeing. the Dhamma may be called the law of cause and effect." Whether the Buddhas arise or not these four Truths exist in the universe.
The true Buddhist looks forward with enthusiasm to absorption into eternal bliss. The Buddha perceived the universality of sorrow and did prescribe a panacea for this universal sickness of humanity. for zest (Piti) is one of the factors of Enlightenment. but they are illusive and temporary. Hence the Buddha Dhamma is not based on the fear of the unknown. which is the total extinction of suffering. To call it pessimism is merely to apply to it a characteristically Western principle to which happiness is impossible without personality. a vague general opinion that pain and evil predominate in human affairs. The author of the article on Pessimism in the Encyclopedia Britannica writes: "Pessimism denotes an attitude of hopelessness towards life. The original doctrine of the Buddha is in fact as optimistic as any optimism of the West. children. Such a rational and practical system cannot contain mysteries or esoteric doctrines. is foreign to Buddhism. The highest conceivable happiness. is Nibbana. He exhorts them to be always happy and cheerful. The Buddha does not expect His followers to be constantly pondering on suffering and lead a miserable unhappy life. Buddhism is. they will be a source of pain and sorrow to the possessors. If such possessions are misdirected. therefore rational and intensely practical.suggesting a means to put an end to it. Instead of trying to rationalize suffering. forcibly or unjustly obtained." Ordinarily the enjoyment of sensual pleasures is the highest and only happiness of the average man. gratification and retrospection of such fleeting material pleasures. There is no doubt a kind of momentary happiness in the anticipation. misappropriated or even viewed with attachment. Blind faith. These four Truths can be verified by experience. but is founded on the bedrock of facts which can be tested by ourselves and verified by experience. Suffering exists as long as there is craving. Where there is no blind faith there cannot be any coercion or . According to the Buddha non-attachment is a greater bliss. therefore. It can only be annihilated by treading the Noble Eightfold Path and attaining the supreme bliss of Nibbana. Buddhism takes suffering for granted and seeks the cause to eradicate it. and is not to be defined in terms of wealth. honors or fame. Real happiness is found within. according to the Buddha.
no Bruno was burnt alive. especially in its earliest forms. Buddhism appeals more to the intellect than to the emotion. Lord." Upali. O householder. which. the Buddha was the first and the greatest missionary that lived on earth. I prefer Buddhism. The more pleased am I with this remark of yours. Yet." In the name of Buddhism no altar was reddened with the blood of a Hypatia. because it has had the smallest element of persecution. It is concerned more with the character of the devotees than with their numerical strength. saying: "Of a verity. and no conversion was made either by force or by repulsive methods. For the second time. who was overjoyed at this unexpected remark of the Buddha. Aldous Huxley writes: "Alone of all the great world religions Buddhism made its way without persecution censorship or inquisition. It is the teaching of the open mind and the sympathetic heart. lighting and warming the whole universe with its twin . But. Your Reverence advises me to investigate further.persecution or fanaticism. no mighty monarch wielded his powerful sword to propagate the Dhamma. On one occasion Upali. said: "Lord. make a thorough investigation. its adherents would have taken me round the streets in a procession proclaiming that such and such a millionaire had renounced his former faith and embraced theirs. Lord. But the Buddha cautioned him. had I been a follower of another religion. Dhamma and the Sangha. To the unique credit of Buddhism it must be said that throughout its peaceful march of 2500 years no drop of blood was shed in the name of the Buddha." Buddhism is saturated with this spirit of free enquiry and complete tolerance. It is well for a distinguished man like you to make (first) a thorough investigation. approached the Buddha and was so pleased with the Buddha's exposition of the Dhamma that he instantly expressed his desire to become a follower of the Buddha." Lord Russell remarks: "Of the great religions of history. a follower of Nigantha Nataputta. I seek refuge in the Buddha.
was converted to a compassionate saint. the scavenger. irrespective of caste. women and all living beings. together with warriors and Brahmans." He commands not but does exhort. Such instances could easily be multiplied from the Tipitaka to show that the portals of Buddhism were wide open to all. but only regarded them as feeble by nature. He said: "It behooves you to do this — It behooves you not to do this. It was the Buddha who first attempted to abolish slavery and vehemently protested against the degrading caste system which was firmly rooted in the soil of India. for instance. courtesans. Sex is no barrier to attaining Sainthood. which means "mother-folk" or "society of mothers.rays of wisdom and compassion. The fierce Alavaka sought refuge in the Buddha and became a saint. The timid Sunita. but by one's actions. The Buddha did not humiliate women." As a mother. Sometimes the Pali term used to denote women is Matugama. woman holds an honorable place in Buddhism. In the Word of the Buddha it is not by mere birth one becomes an outcast or a noble. He saw the innate good of both men and women and assigned to them their due places in His teaching. who attained Arhatship was admitted by the Buddha Himself into the Order. It was also the Buddha who raised the status of downtrodden women and not only brought them to a realization of their importance to society but also founded the first celibate religious order for women with rules and regulations. The courtesan Ambapali entered the Order and attained Arhatship. the barber. Caste or color does not preclude one from becoming a Buddhist or from entering the Order. sheds its genial glow on every being struggling in the ocean of birth and death. This tolerance the Buddha extended to men. Upali. Fishermen. Instead of using the imperative. Even the wife is regarded as "best friend" (parama sakha) of the husband. was made in preference to all other the chief in matters pertaining to Vinaya discipline. color or rank. Angulimala. scavengers. The Buddha was so tolerant that He did not even exercise His power to give commandments to His lay followers. the robber and criminal. were freely admitted to the Order and enjoyed equal privileges and were also given positions of rank. .
bereaved mothers. destitute women." . even so he appointed Arahats Khema and Uppalavanna as the two chief female disciples. widows. pitiable courtesans — all. and founded the Bhikkhuni Order. may prove Even a better offspring than a male. There is no reason to keep aloof from others merely because they belong to another persuasion or another nationality. On one occasion the Buddha said to King Kosala who was displeased on hearing that a daughter was born to him: A woman child. Many women. Just as the Arahats Sariputta and Moggallana were made the two chief disciples in the Order of monks. In this new Order. Asoka says: "Concourse alone is best. met on a common platform.Hasty critics are only making ex parte statements when they reproach Buddhism with being inimical to women. color or sex. yet later He yielded to the entreaties of His foster-mother. Although at first the Buddha refused to admit women into the Order on reasonable grounds. which later proved to be a great blessing to many women. that is. In that noble Toleration Edict which is based on CullaVyuha and Maha-Vyuha Suttas. daughters of noble families. and breathed that free atmosphere which is denied to those cloistered in cottages and palatial mansions. queens. and gained their emancipation by following the Dhamma and entering the Order. princesses. No man has the power or the right to destroy the life of another as life is precious to all. all should harken willingly to the doctrine professed by others. despite their caste or rank. Many other female disciples too were named by the Buddha Himself as His distinguished and pious followers. enjoyed perfect consolation and peace. who otherwise would have fallen into oblivion. O Lord of men. It is this Buddhist Metta that attempts to break all the barriers which separate one from another. distinguished themselves in various ways. A genuine Buddhist would exercise this loving-kindness towards every living being and identify himself with all. making no distinction whatsoever with regard to caste. It was also the Buddha who banned the sacrifice of poor beasts and admonished His followers to extend their loving kindness (Metta) to all living beings — even to the tiniest creature that crawls at one's feet. Pajapati Gotami.
is another form of caste system founded on a wider basis. He regards the whole world as his motherland and all as his brothers and sisters. There is another vicious and foolish. A real Buddhist is a citizen of the world. or at the ripe age of eighty or hundred? . It is universal. and another should perish in the flower or manhood. To a Buddhist there is no far or near. if it be permitted to say so. Here is a man virtuous and holy. but. Why. but accounted to be fortune's darling. and amongst some of the fundamental doctrines may be said — Kamma or the Law of Moral Causation. ill-luck is ever ready to greet him. it may be questioned. endowed with fine mental. in other words. contrary to his expectation. unique. no renegade or untouchable. mainly owing to its tolerance. rationality. These are some of the salient features of Buddhism.Buddhism is not confined to any country or any particular nation. He is rewarded with all forms of favors. We perceive the inequalities and manifold destinies of men and the numerous grades of beings that exist in the universe. Chapter VI Kamma or the Law of Moral Causation We are faced with a totally ill-balanced world. the Doctrine of Rebirth. Buddhism is. We see one born into a condition of affluence. It is the noblest of all unifying influences and the only lever that can uplift the world. is supernationalism. since universal love realized through understanding has established the brotherhood of all living beings. He is poor and miserable in spite of his honest dealings and piety. therefore. Anatta and Nibbana. efficacy and universality. no enemy or foreigner. nonaggressiveness. moral and physical qualities and another into a condition of abject poverty and wretchedness. Buddhism. The wicked world runs counter to his ambitions and desires. practicability. despite his shortcomings and evil modes of life. should one be an inferior and another a superior? Why should one be wrested from the hands of a fond mother when he has scarcely seen a few summers. It is not nationalism which.
repulsive to all? Why should one be brought up in the lap of luxury." . this inequality of mankind? Is it due to the work of blind chance or accident? There is nothing in this world that happens by blind chance or accident. "In giving out punishments and rewards. and another strong and healthy? Why should one be handsome. he would to a certain extent be passing judgment on himself. it is perfectly clear to me that he is no more entirely benevolent and just in any intelligible sense of the words. nothing happens to man that he does not deserve for some reason or another. and every human feeling and aspiration is also his work. Could this be the fiat of an irresponsible Creator? Huxley writes: "If we are to assume that anybody has designedly set this wonderful universe going. is no more true than that this book has come here of itself." According to Einstein: "If this being (God) is omnipotent. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to him. To say that anything happens by chance. deaf and deformed? Why should some be blessed and others cursed from their birth? These are some problems that perplex the minds of all thinking men. Strictly speaking. how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an Almighty Being. and another ugly and hideous. mathematicians or musicians from the very cradle? Why should some be congenitally blind. and another with criminal tendencies? Why should some be linguists. every human thought. steeped in misery? Why should one be born a millionaire and another a pauper? Why should one be born with saintly characteristics. than that he is malevolent and unjust. and another in absolute poverty. then every occurrence.Why should one be sick and infirm. including every human action. artists. How are we to account for all this unevenness of the world.
" Commenting on human sufferings and God. and all-powerful. regardless of his individual desires." In the words of Schopenhauer: "Whoever regards himself as having become out of nothing must also think that he will again become nothing. from the first step in the process of his physical creation to the moment of his last breath. The objection to the second is that it is only in connection with the universe as a whole that there is any intellectual gap to be filled by the postulation of a deity. Pain. J. we are told. poverty confront the advocate of eternal goodness and challenge with unanswerable potency his declaration of Deity as allgood. was created by a God who is both good and omnipotent. struggles or devoted prayers. noble or depraved. Such is theological fatalism." Lord Russell states: "The world. "If birth is the absolute beginning. And a creator could presumably create whatever he or it wanted. Before He created the world he foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain. hopes. misery. Haldane writes: "Either suffering is needed to perfect human character. He is therefore responsible for all of it. fortunate or unfortunate. then death must be his absolute end. The former theory is disproved by the fact that some people who have suffered very little but have been fortunate in their ancestry and education have very fine characters. for an eternity has passed before he was. Prof.S. crime. ambitions. Hence man is either good or evil. is a monstrous thought. and then a second eternity had begun. and the assumption that man is made out of nothing leads necessarily to the assumption that death is his absolute end.B."According to the theological principles man is created arbitrarily and without his desire and at the moment of his creation is either blessed or damned eternally. all-wise. through which he will never cease to be." — Spencer Lewis As Charles Bradlaugh says: "The existence of evil is a terrible stumbling block to the Theist. it . or God is not Almighty.
It is however. are partly instrumental. his physical foundation. be very often temperamentally. love and omnipotent fairness. and does what he will with his own. rather that made everlasting hell. If God knew in advance the sins of which man would be guilty.is useless to argue that the pain in the world is due to sin. who. Lord Tennyson thus boldly attacks God.) "What! I should call on that infinite love that has served us so well? Infinite cruelty. foredoomed us. it accounts more plausibly for their similarities than for most of the differences. but they cannot be solely responsible for the subtle distinctions and vast differences that exist amongst individuals. explains only a portion of man. Strictly speaking. 7. He was clearly responsible for all the consequences of those sins when He decided to create man. With regard to the more complex and subtle mental. Could this variation be due to heredity and environment? One must admit that all such chemico-physical phenomena revealed by scientists. says. inheriting like genes. xiv. the birth of a saint or a noble man in ." Surely "the doctrine that all men are sinners and have the essential sin of Adam is a challenge to justice. that man created God in his own image. inherited from parents. mercy. impossible to conceive of such a being either in or outside the universe. foreknew us. on the contrary." a poem of his old age. "I make peace and create evil. Yet why should identical twins who are physically alike. Some modern thinkers state." Some writers of old authoritatively declared that God created man in his own image. With the growth of civilization man's concept of God also became more and more refined. as recorded in Isaiah. The infinitesimally minute chemico-physical germ. Made us. which is about 30 millionth part of an inch across. enjoying the same privilege of upbringing." (Isaiah. intellectual and moral differences we need more enlightenment. The theory of heredity cannot give a satisfactory explanation for the birth of a criminal in a long line of honorable ancestors." In "Despair. Better our dead brute mother who never has heard us groan. morally and intellectually totally different? Heredity alone cannot account for these vast differences.
its inheritance. intellectual. "For. In one sense we are the result of what we were.a family of evil repute." but also to our own kamma. a criminal today may be a saint tomorrow." We reap what we have sown. the powerful and the powerless. Good gets good. its kinsman. its refuge. This is the law of Kamma. we are not totally the result of what we were and we will not absolutely be the result of what we are. We are the architects of our own fate. For instance. the good looking and the illlooking. our present mental. Kamma constitutes both good and evil. According to Buddhism this variation is due not only to heredity." He then explained the cause of such differences in accordance with the law of moral causation. the poor and the rich. means action. men of genius and great religious teachers. moral and temperamental differences are mainly due to our own actions and tendencies. for the arising of infant prodigies. its cause. the low-born and the high-born. ." said he. the hale and the ailing. Kamma is that which differentiates all living beings into low and high states. to the result of our own inherited past actions and our present deeds. or in other words. and questioned why and wherefore it was that among human beings there are the low and high states. we will be the result of what we are. We create our own heavens. both past the present." The Buddha briefly replied: "Every living being has kamma as its own. We ourselves are responsible for our own deeds. it means the meritorious and demeritorious volition (Kusala Akusala Cetana). What we sow we reap somewhere or some when. "nature and nurture. happiness and misery. We build our own hells. As some Westerners prefer to say Kamma is "action-influence. On one occasion9 a certain young man named Subha approached the Buddha. in its ultimate sense. Kamma. "we find amongst mankind those of brief life and those of long life. the ignorant and the intelligent. Evil gets evil. but. In another sense. Thus from a Buddhist standpoint. environment. In short we ourselves are our own kamma. literally. Like attracts like.
. order of act and result. No scientist has ordered that water should consist of H2O. seasonal phenomena of winds and rains. e. like gravitation. Nobody. and that coldness should be one of its properties.g. Kamma Niyama.g. desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results. power of mind etc.. only one of the five orders that prevail in the universe. the natural phenomena occurring at the advent of a Bodhisatta in his last birth. rice produced from rice-seed. How far one diverts it depends on oneself. therefore. but it does not thereby follow that there should be a law-giver.. iv. Citta Niyama. etc.g. It is a law in itself. One need not consult a physician to be cured of a disease. Bija Niyama. e. has decreed that fire should burn. a man must ever be bad.. According to Buddhism. but it does not assert that everything is due to Kamma. e.Buddhism attributes this variation to Kamma.g. for if one's Kamma is such one will be cured. Nobody has commanded that water should seek its own level. If everything were due to Kamma. for it is his Kamma to be bad. Kamma is. Kamma is neither fate nor predestination imposed upon us by some mysterious unknown power to which we must helplessly submit ourselves. e. Utu Niyama. processes of consciousness (Citta vithi). Ordinary laws of nature. need no law-giver. It is one's own doing reacting on oneself. These are their intrinsic characteristics. for instance.. order of the norm. ii. . sugary taste from sugar cane or honey etc. iii. e. order of germs or seeds (physical organic order). Every mental or physical phenomenon could be explained by these allembracing five orders or processes which are laws in themselves. there are five orders or processes (Niyamas) which operate in the physical and mental realms: i. v. physical (inorganic) order. Dhamma Niyama. gravitation.g. It operates in its own field without the intervention of an external independent ruling agency. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order. order of mind or psychic law. and so one has the possibility to divert the course of Kamma to some extent.
the effect explains the cause. kindles his enthusiasm. on the contrary. believe that sorrow and happiness one experiences are the natural outcome of one's own good and bad actions. tolerant and considerate.It must also be said that such phraseology as rewards and punishments should not be allowed to enter into discussions concerning the problem of Kamma. Inherent in Kamma is the potentiality of producing its due effect. Even so Kamma and its effect are inter-related. It is not the complete annihilation of this so-called being. For Buddhism does not recognize an Almighty Being who rules His subjects and rewards and punishes them accordingly. self reliance and moral courage. the mystery of so-called fate or predestination of other religions. It is this doctrine of Kamma that gives him consolation. Chapter VII Re-birth As long as this Kammic force exists there is re-birth. the fruit explains the seed as both are interrelated. and above all the inequality of mankind." A Buddhist who is fully convinced of the doctrine of Kamma does not pray to another to be saved but confidently relies on himself for his purification because it teaches individual responsibility. Seed produces the fruit. It should be stated that Kamma has both the continuative and the retributive principle. Kamma and rebirth are accepted as axiomatic. "the effect already blooms in the cause. Death is nothing but the temporary end of this temporary phenomenon. for beings are merely the visible manifestation of this invisible Kammic force. Buddhists. hope. do good and be good without being frightened of any punishment or tempted by any reward. The cause produces the effect. It is this belief in Kamma "that validates his effort." makes him ever kind. The organic life . It is this doctrine of Kamma that can explain the problem of suffering. It is also this firm belief in Kamma that prompts him to refrain from evil.
Another school denies a first cause for. the cause ever becomes the effect and the effect becomes the cause. As the Kammic force remains entirely undisturbed by the disintegration of the fleeting body. in turn. which strictly means the arising of the five aggregates or . and a future life. According to Buddhism we are born from the matrix of action (Kammayoni). As such life precedes life. One school. we are the direct products of the sperm and ovum cells provided by our parents. It is Kamma. God. then we are at once faced with the alleged mysterious problem — "What is the ultimate origin of life?" Either there must be a beginning or there cannot be a beginning for life. For a being to be born here a being must die somewhere. At the moment of conception it is past Kamma that conditions the initial consciousness that vitalizes the fetus. or colloid. that conditions rebirth. postulates a first cause. In a circle of cause and effect a first cause is inconceivable. The birth of a being. The present is the offspring of the past. Past Kamma conditions the present birth. according to the latter. but the Kammic force which hitherto actuated it has not been destroyed. From the scientific standpoint. scientists plead ignorance. it is beginningless. As such being precedes being. If we postulate a past. and becomes. in common experience. in attempting to solve the problem. life has had a beginning. the parent of the future. According to the former. to complete the trio that constitutes man. It is this invisible Kammic energy. Parents merely provide an infinitesimally small cell. in combination with past Kamma. and present Kamma. present. generated from the past birth that produces mental phenomena and the phenomenon of life in an already extent physical phenomenon. With regard to the origin of the first protoplasm of life. rooted in ignorance and craving. viewed as a force or as an Almighty Being. the passing away of the present dying thought-moment only conditions a fresh consciousness in another birth.has ceased. conditions the future.
Birth precedes death." This life-stream flows ad infinitum. An ultimate beginning of this life-stream cannot be determined. With but this one practical and specific purpose in view. then only. corresponds to the death of a being in a past life. But how are we to believe that there is a past existence? The most valuable evidence Buddhists cite in favor of rebirth is the Buddha. the rising of the sun in one place means the setting of the sun in another place. The Buddha has here referred merely to the beginning of the lifestream of living beings. What is the ultimate origin of life? The Buddha declares: "Without cognizable end is this Samsara. Following His instructions. Nor does He demand blind faith from His adherents. wander and fare on. When these two are completely cut off. as long as it is fed by the muddy waters of ignorance and craving. The Buddha does not attempt to solve all the ethical and philosophical problems that perplex mankind. Birth and death are only two phases of the same process. His disciples also developed this knowledge and were able to read their past lives to a great extent. for He developed a knowledge which enabled Him to read past and future lives. Nor does He deal with theories and speculations that tend neither to edification nor to enlightenment. rebirth ends as in the case of the Buddhas and Arahats. just as. on the other hand. The constant succession of birth and death in connection with each individual life flux constitutes what is technically known as Samsara — recurrent wandering. It is left to scientists to speculate on the origin and the evolution of the universe. who. . precedes birth.psycho-physical phenomena in this present life. obstructed by ignorance and fettered by craving. and death. as a stage cannot be perceived when this life-force was not fraught with ignorance and craving. in conventional terms. is not to be perceived. This enigmatic statement may be better understood by imagining life as a wave and not as a straight line. if one so wishes. does the stream cease to flow. all irrelevant side issues are completely ignored. A first beginning of beings. He is chiefly concerned with the problem of suffering and its destruction.
" Experiences of some reliable modern psychics. There are also some persons. spirit communications. So are the experiences of some modern dependable psychics and strange cases of alternating and multiple personalities. Kalidasa. respectable cases tend to throw some light on the idea of a past birth. clairvoyance. Panini. Homer and Plato. Such cases are very rare. but those few well-attested. before the advent of the Buddha. infant prodigies like Pascal. that old love springs up again like the lotus in the water. their posterity. Beethoven. How often do we meet persons whom we have never met. who probably in accordance with the laws of association. and yet feel impressed that we are perfectly acquainted with those surroundings? The Buddha tells us: "Through previous associations or present advantage. read the past lives of others and even heal diseases.Even some Indian Rishis. and remember fragments of their previous lives. ghostly phenomena. etc.? Heredity alone cannot account for them. thought-reading. while a few others. Ramanujan. remembering past births. Do they evolve suddenly? Can they be the products of a single existence? How are we to account for great characters like Buddhaghosa. Into this world come Perfect Ones like the Buddhas and highly developed personalities. even greater than themselves.10 Sometimes we get strange experiences which cannot be explained but by rebirth. men of genius like Shakespeare." . In hypnotic states some relate experiences of their past lives. and yet instinctively feel that they are quite familiar to us? How often do we visit places. were distinguished for such psychic powers as clairaudience. Mozart. etc. spontaneously develop the memory of their past birth. "Else their ancestry would disclose it. demonstrate it. Raphael. strange alternating and multiple personalities and so on shed some light upon this problem of rebirth.
in conditions.Could they rise to such lofty heights if they had not lived noble lives and gained similar experiences in the past? Is it by mere chance that they are been born or those particular parents and placed under those favorable circumstances? The few years that we are privileged to spend here or. The cause of this Kamma. for the most five score years. Our reason tells us that this idea of past birth and Kamma alone can explain the degrees of difference that exist between twins. circumstances and environment observable throughout the world. . the cause of birth and death. It is indeed a strong argument in favor of past and future lives that "in this world virtuous persons are very often unfortunate and vicious persons prosperous. is avijja or ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. and acts in turn as the parent of the future. why the work of the genius invariably transcends his experience. it is quite logical to believe in the past. continues the Buddha. how men like Shakespeare with a very limited experience are able to portray with marvelous exactitude the most diverse types of human character. in brain and physique. it forms the only reasonable hypothesis which bridges certain gaps in human knowledge concerning certain facts of every day life. therefore. If one believes in the present and in the future. and its transmutation into knowingness or vijja is consequently their cessation. Ignorance is." It should be stated that this doctrine of rebirth can neither be proved nor disproved experimentally. the vast diversity in mind and morals. but it is accepted as an evidentially verifiable fact. must certainly be an inadequate preparation for eternity. If there are reasons to believe that we have existed in the past. scenes and so forth of which they could have no actual knowledge. then surely there are no reasons to disbelieve that we shall continue to exist after our present life has apparently ceased. The present is the offspring of the past. the existence of infant precocity." A Western writer says: "Whether we believe in a past existence or not. and so forth.
" It must be borne in mind that Paticca Samuppada is only a discourse on the process of birth and death and not a theory of the ultimate origin of life." Paticca Samuppada.The result of this analytical method is summed up in the Paticca Samuppada. Chapter VIII Paticca Samuppada Paticca means because of. Contact leads to feeling (Vedana). Dependent on ignorance of the Four Noble Truths arise activities (Sankhara) — both moral and immoral. It clouds all right understanding. literally means — "Dependent Arising" or "Dependent Origination. The activities whether good or bad rooted in ignorance which must necessarily have their due effects. The six senses (Salayatana) are the inevitable consequences of mind and body. or dependent upon: Samuppada "arising or origination. . good actions are essential to get rid of the ills of life. Ignorance (Avijja) is the first link or cause of the wheel of life. This links the past with the present. Dependent on activities arise rebirth-consciousness (Viññana). only tend to prolong life's wandering. but it does not in the least attempt to show the evolution of the world from primordial matter. therefore. Nevertheless. Because of the six senses contact (Phassa) sets in. It deals with the cause of rebirth and suffering. Simultaneous with the arising of rebirth-consciousness there come into being mind and body (Nama-rupa).
If on account of cause effect comes to be. the middle eight to the present. Feeling is the outcome of contact between the senses and objects. Grief. Such an organism must be born. Lamentation.These five — viz. Thus does the entire aggregate of suffering arise. Death. But birth is the inevitable result of past deeds or Kamma. contact and feeling — are the effects of past actions and are called the passive side of life. Craving results in grasping (Upadana). Dependent on feeling arises craving (Tanha). Where there is a mind there is consciousness. The reverse order of the Paticca Samuppada will make the matter clear. It is the result of past good and evil. and Despair.. . The whole formula may be summed up thus: Dependent on Ignorance arise Activities (Moral and Immoral) " " Activities arises Consciousness (Re-birth Consciousness) " " Consciousness arise Mind and Matter " " Mind and Matter arise the six Spheres of Sense " " the Six Spheres of Sense arises Contact " " Contact arises Feeling " " Feeling arises Craving " " Craving arises Grasping " " Grasping arise Actions (Kamma) " " Actions arises Rebirth " " Birth arise Decay. Therefore it presupposes organs of senses which cannot exist without mind and body. the effect also must cease. Such craving can appear only where feeling exists. Sorrow. The acquisition of good and evil is due to ignorance of things as they truly are. consciousness. therefore it pre-supposes birth. Pain. conditions future birth (Jati). mind and matter. Grasping is the cause of Kamma (Bhava) which in its turn. and the last two to the future. Old age and death are possible in and with a psychophysical organism. then if the cause ceases. The first two of these twelve pertain to the past. six senses. Kamma is conditioned by grasping which is due to craving. Birth is the inevitable cause of old age and death (Jara-marana).
" " " Feeling leads to the cessation of Craving. " " " Actions leads to the cessation of Re-birth. " " " Contact leads to the cessation of Feeling. is eternal. If the immortal soul. and the life-flux is diverted into Nibbanadhatu. Buddhism denies the existence of an unchanging or eternal soul created by a God or emanating from a Divine Essence (Paramatma). This process of cause and effect continues ad infinitum. Lamentation.The complete cessation of Ignorance leads to the cessation of Activities. Sorrow. which is supposed to be the essence of man. But when this nescience is turned into knowledge. " " " Re-birth leads to the cessation of Decay. Pain. " " " Craving leads to the cessation of Grasping. " " " Mind and Matter leads to the cessation of the six Spheres of Sense. The beginning of this process cannot be determined as it is impossible to say whence this life-flux was encompassed by nescience. Death. The cessation of Activities leads to the cessation of Consciousness. an immortal soul is absolutely . and Despair. there cannot be either a rise or a fall. Grief." To prove the existence of endless felicity in an eternal heaven and unending torments in an eternal hell. Besides one cannot understand why "different souls are so variously constituted at the outset. " " " Grasping leads to the cessation of Actions. " " " Consciousness leads to the cessation of mind and matter. Thus does the cessation of this entire aggregate of suffering result. then the end of the life process of Samsara comes about. " " " the six Spheres of Sense leads to the cessation of Contact. Chapter IX Anatta or Soul-lessness This Buddhist doctrine of re-birth should be distinguished from the theory of re-incarnation which implies the transmigration of a soul and its invariable material rebirth.
" matter has since disintegrated under our very eyes. to take an even more obvious example if I simultaneously see a man and hear him speaking.' that we feel its existence . Joad says in "The Meaning of Life. Hume. it is no longer determined by compulsive causal laws. are both "divisible and destructible. such as it is.necessary. it seems." writes Bertrand Russell."11 Bishop Berkeley who showed that this so-called atom is a metaphysical fiction held that there exists a spiritual substance called the soul. it is no longer enduring." he says. what is it that is punished in hell or rewarded in heaven? "It should be said. there is some sense in which the 'I' that sees is the same as the 'I' that hears. In the present state of psychology belief in immortality can at any rate claim no support from science. therefore. "There are some philosophers. Psychology is just beginning to be scientific. For equally good reasons psychologists find that mind has not the identity of a single continuing thing but is a series of occurrences bound together by certain intimate relations. it is no longer known. It is no longer solid. for instance. "that the old distinction between soul and body has evaporated quite as much because 'matter' has lost its solidity as mind has lost its spirituality. has become the question whether these intimate relations exist between occurrences connected with a living body and other occurrence which take place after that body is dead." The electrons and protons that compose atoms "can meet and annihilate one another while their persistence. and more important than all. and in process of continual change both as regards shape and position than that of a thing. looked into consciousness and perceived hat there was nothing except fleeting mental states and concluded that the supposed "permanent ego" is non-existent. "For sufficient reasons physicists have reduced this atom to a series of events." As C." Till recently scientists believed in an indivisible and indestructible atom. The so-called atoms. Otherwise. The question of immortality. and.M.E. is rather that of a wave lacking fixed boundaries." Buddhists do agree with Russell when he says "there is obviously some reason in which I am the same person as I was yesterday. "who imagine we are every moment conscious of what we call 'ourself.
states: "No one has ever touched a soul or has seen one in a test tube or has in any way come into relationship with it as he has with the other objects of his daily experience. James says — "The soul-theory is a complete superfluity. all the indelibly recorded impressions to its successor. and a conscious state is not a state that endures without changing. Each momentary consciousness of this ever-changing life-process. Nevertheless to doubt its existence is to become a heretic and once might possibly even had led to the loss of one's head. "All consciousness is time existence. So far no one can be compelled to subscribe to it for definite scientific reasons. it is itself nothing but change. love or hatred. transmits its whole energy. light or shade. The subsequent thought moment is neither absolutely the same as its predecessor — since that which goes to make it up is not identical — nor entirely . Every fresh consciousness consists of the potentialities of its predecessors together with something more. on passing away." Bergson says. One unit of consciousness consists of three phases — arising or genesis (uppada) static or development (thiti). I never catch myself.. and never can observe anything but the perception. nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a perfect non-entity. when I enter most intimately into what I call 'myself' I always stumble on some particular perception or other — of heat or cold.. For my part.and its continuance in existence and so we are certain. and cessation or dissolution (bhanga). There is therefore." In concluding his interesting chapter on the soul he says: "And in this book the provisional solution which we have reached must be the final word: the thoughts themselves are the thinkers. It is a change without ceasing.. so far as accounting for the actually verified facts of conscious experience goes." Dealing with this question of soul Prof. a continuous flow of consciousness like a stream without any interruption.." The Buddha anticipated these facts some 2500 years ago. pain or pleasure. both of its perfect identity and simplicity. Immediately after the cessation stage of a thought moment there occurs the genesis stage of the subsequent thought-moment. when change ceases it ceases. a distinguished psychologist. Even today a man holding a public position dare not question it." Watson. According to Buddhism mind is nothing but a complex compound of fleeting mental states.
veiled by the web of illusion. What we shall become is determined by this present thought-moment. However. Here showing itself as a tiny gnat or worm. and is ever slipping into the irrevocable past. When one mode of its manifestation . every moment there is death. there making its presence known in the dazzling magnificence of a Deva or an Archangel's existence. But we worldlings. one might ask. But. the supposed doer and receptacle of all actions to this ever-changing consciousness. Well. on the contrary."13 As the wheel of a cart rests on the ground at one point. No state once gone ever recurs nor is identical with what goes before. so does the being live only for one thought-moment. In the course of one life-time there is momentary rebirth without a soul. it pleases the commentators to say that the time duration of one thought-moment is even less than onebillionth part of the time occupied by a flash of lightning."12 It has birth for its source and death for its mouth. there is nothing to be re-born. mistake this apparent continuity to be something eternal and go to the extent of introducing an unchanging soul. Here there is no identical being but there is an identity in process. The arising of one thought-moment means the passing away of another thoughtmoment and vice versa. As Bhikkhu Silacara says: "Unseen it passes whithersoever the conditions appropriate to its visible manifestation are present. The rapidity of the flow is such that hardly is there any standard whereby it can be measured even approximately. "The so-called being is like a flash of lightning that is resolved into a succession of sparks that follow upon one another with such rapidity that the human retina cannot perceive them separately. It must not be understood that a consciousness is chopped up in bits and joined together like a train or a chain. what is it that is reborn. If there is no soul. and ever dispensing to the world without the thought-stuff it has gathered by the way.another — being the same continuity of Kamma energy. Every moment there is birth. nor can the uninstructed conceive of such succession of separate sparks. Here we find a juxtaposition of such fleeting mental states of consciousness opposed to a superposition of such states as some appear to believe. "it persistently flows on like a river receiving from the tributary streams of sense constant accretions to its flood. When life ceases the Kammic energy rematerializes itself in another form. an Atta. It is always in the present.
and not limited only to the present life.ceases it merely passes on. hatred and ignorance. "The whole world is in flames. Death is merely the temporary end of a temporary phenomenon. a flux or a continuity. ." Literally. Buddhism does not totally deny the existence of a personality in an empirical sense. The Buddhist philosophical term for an individual is Santana.. so to say. It only attempts to show that it does not exist in an ultimate sense. but having its source in the beginningless past and its continuation in the future — is the Buddhist substitute for the permanent ego or the immortal soul of other religions. which is conditioned by Kamma. The Kammic force of each individual binds the elements together. lusting. hatred and ignorance. As the process of one lifespan is possible without a permanent entity passing from one thoughtmoment to another." says the Buddha. "It is called Nibbana. It may also be defined as the extinction of lust. It includes the mental and physical elements as well. reveals itself afresh in another name or form. and where suitable circumstances offer. The Pali word Nibbana is formed of Ni and Vana. by the fire of birth. Ni is a negative particle and Vana means lusting or craving. This uninterrupted flux or continuity of psychophysical phenomenon. the ultimate goal of Buddhists. Chapter X Nibbana This process of birth and death continues ad infinitum until this flux is transmuted. Nibbana means non-attachment." Birth is the arising of the psycho-physical phenomena. so the appearance of psycho-physical phenomena is conditioned by cause anterior to its birth. so a series of life-processes is possible without an immortal soul to transmigrate from one existence to another. in that it is a departure from the craving which is called Vana.e. Just as the arising of a physical state is conditioned by a preceding state as its cause. "By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of lust. i. to Nibbanadhatu.
receiving its name according to the way it is experienced before and after death. In that well known story. When an arahant attains Parinibbana. lamentation. Nibbana of the Buddhists is neither a mere nothingness nor a state of annihilation. uncreated and unformed. According to the Books references are made to Nibbana as Sopadisesa and Anupadisesa. It is a state which is dependent upon this body itself. it is eternal (Dhuva). One cannot say that there exists no light just because the blind man does not see it. Nibbana is a supramundane state attainable even in this present life. death. Nibbana is a Dhamma which is "unborn. sorrow. but what it is no words can adequately express. Buddhism does not state that this ultimate goal could be reached only in a life beyond. and happy (Sukha). the turtle." . too. but the one single Nibbana." nor is anything "annihilated. Nibbana is not situated in any place nor is it a sort of heaven where a transcendental ego resides." It should not be understood that Nibbana is a state of nothingness or annihilation owing to the fact that we cannot perceive it with our worldly knowledge.old age. in fact. without any remainder of physical existence it is called Anupadisesa Nibbana-dhatu. pain. after the dissolution of his body." Hence. It is an attainment (Dhamma) which is within the reach of all. If any teach Nirvana is to love Say unto such they err." besides suffering. When Nibbana is realized in this life with the body remaining. In Nibbana nothing is "eternalized. These. it is called Sopadisesa Nibbana-dhatu. triumphantly concluded that there exists no land. grief and despair it is kindled. are not two kinds of Nibbana. desirable (Subha). the fish arguing with his friend. In the words of Sir Edwin Arnold: "If any teach Nirvana is to cease Say unto such they lie. unoriginated. Here lies the chief difference between the Buddhist conception of Nibbana and the non-Buddhist conception of an eternal heaven attainable only after death or a union with a God or Divine Essence in an after-life.
To say that he is neither reborn nor not reborn would not fit the case. for instance. From an ethical standpoint Nibbana is the destruction of lust. we must say 'no'. nor can one say that the arahant is annihilated for there is nothing to annihilate. From a psychological standpoint Nibbana is the eradication of egoism. To say that he is reborn would not fit the case. Does the arahant exist or not after death? The Buddha replies: "The arahant who has been released from the five aggregates is deep. writes: "If we ask. Robert Oppenheimer. Right Mindfulness (samma-sati).' "The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of man's self after death. Right Livelihood (samma-ajiva). we must say 'no. and Right Concentration (samma-samadhi). Right Actions (samma-kammanta). if we ask whether it is in motion. if we ask whether the electron's position changes with time." Chapter XI The Path to Nibbana How is Nibbana to be attained? It is by following the Noble Eight-fold Path which consists of Right Understanding (Samma-ditthi).From a metaphysical standpoint Nibbana is deliverance from suffering. Right Effort (samma-vayama).14 but they are not familiar answers from the tradition of the 17th and 18th century science. if we ask whether the electron is at rest. Right Speech (samma-vaca). immeasurable like the mighty ocean. a scientist. hatred and ignorance. we must say 'no'. Right Thoughts (samma-sankappa). we must say 'no'. whether the position of the electron remains the same." One cannot say that an arahant is reborn as all passions that condition rebirth are eradicated. .
leading directly to the Stages of Sainthood. or benevolence. are three fold. which is opposed to cruelty and callousness. 5. and frivolous talk. ill-will. namely: . because. iii. Purifying his thoughts.1. Right Understanding has matured into perfect Insight Wisdom (vipassanapañña). intoxicating drinks and drugs. words and deeds at the outset. Right Speech must be followed by Right Action which comprises abstinence from killing. They are trading in arms. or aversion. goodwill. Right Effort is fourfold. the third factor. which serves the double purpose of eliminating evil thoughts and developing pure thoughts. Right Understanding stands at the beginning as well as at its end. Nekkhamma — Renunciation of worldly pleasures or the virtue of selflessness. Right Thoughts (samma-sankappa). Right Thoughts lead to Right Speech. The second factor of the Noble Eight-fold Path is therefore. 6. In the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path. Clear vision of right understanding leads to clear thinking. in this particular connection. "Dependent on this one-fathom long body with its consciousness" are all the four Truths. For monks. and Avihimsa — Harmlessness or compassion. and possessiveness. 2. A minimum degree of Right Understanding is necessary at the very beginning because it gives the right motivations to the other seven factors of the Path and gives to them correct direction. To understand rightly means to understand things as they really are and not as they appear to be. selfishness. Right Thoughts. animals for slaughter. Right Understanding. which is opposed to attachment. which is opposed to hatred. Avyapada — Loving-kindness. 4. stealing and sexual misconduct. and poisons. They consist of: i. This refers primarily to a correct understanding of oneself. the spiritual pilgrim tries to purify his livelihood by refraining from the five kinds of trade which are forbidden to a lay-disciple. wrong livelihood consists of hypocritical conduct and wrong means of obtaining the requisites of monk-life. human beings. harsh words. ii. 3. as the Rohitassa Sutta states. which is the key-note of Buddhism. At the culmination of the practice. is explained as the knowledge of the four Noble Truths. slandering. This includes abstinence from falsehood.
Of these eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path the first two are grouped under the heading of Wisdom (pañña). thoughts. feelings. Without killing or causing injury to any living creature. These elementary principles of regulated behavior are essential to one who treads the path to Nibbana. ii. iv. the endeavor to prevent the arising of unarisen evil. Avoiding pernicious drinks that promote heedlessness. 7. Morality (sila) Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood II. Violation of them means the . even to the tiniest creature that crawls at his feet. ii. Shunning false speech. the endeavor to promote the good which has already arisen. Refraining from stealing. i. Concentration (samadhi) Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration III. But according to the order of development the sequence is as follows: I.i. the endeavor to develop unarisen good. he should be pure. and mind-objects. and the last three under Concentration (samadhi). Abstaining from sexual misconduct which debases the exalted nature of man. the endeavor to discard evil that has already arisen. iii. It is the one-pointedness of mind. culminating in the Jhanas or meditative absorptions. the following three under Morality (sila). Right Effort and Right Mindfulness lead to Right Concentration. iii. Wisdom (pañña) Right Understanding Right Thoughts Morality (sila) is the first stage on this path to Nibbana. he should be truthful. 8. he should be upright and honest in all his dealings. man should be kind and compassionate towards all. iv. he should be sober and diligent. Right Mindfulness is constant mindfulness with regard to body.
sympathetic joy (Mudita). may advance a step further and try to control his senses." It should not be understood that everyone is expected to lead the life of a Bhikkhu or a celibate life to achieve one's goal. While he progresses slowly and steadily with regulated word and deed and restrained senses. "A den of strife is household life. After attaining the third state of Sainthood. the Kammic force of this striving aspirant may compel him to renounce worldly pleasures and adopt the ascetic life. But free and high as the open sky Is the life the homeless lead.introduction of obstacles on the path which will obstruct his moral progress." It is the concentration of the mind on one object to the entire exclusion of all irrelevant matter. Meditation on lovingkindness is very beneficial as it is conducive to mental peace and happiness. The spiritual pilgrim. compassion (Karuna). Concentration on respiration is the easiest to gain the one-pointedness of the mind. There are different subjects for meditation according to the temperaments of the individuals. that all other . And filled with toil and need. he should choose the one most suited to his temperament. and equanimity (Upekkha) — is highly commendable. one leads a life of celibacy. This being satisfactorily settled. the control and culture of the mind — the second stage on this Path. Securing a firm footing on the ground of morality. Observance of them means steady and smooth progress along the path. To him then comes the idea that. he makes a persistent effort to focus his mind until he becomes so wholly absorbed and interested in it. Cultivation of the four sublime states — loving-kindness (Metta). the progressing pilgrim then embarks upon the higher practice of Samadhi. Samadhi — is the "one-pointedness of the mind. After giving careful consideration to the subject for contemplation. One's spiritual progress is expedited by being a Bhikkhu although as a lay follower one can become an arahant. disciplining thus his words and deeds.
Thought Reading (Paracitta vijañana) and different Psychic Powers (Iddhividha). Wherever he turns his eyes he sees nought but the Three Characteristics — Anicca (transiency). Dukkha (sorrow) and anatta (soul-lessness) standing out in bold relief. to his indescribable joy. When one gains this perfect one-pointedness of the mind it is possible for one to develop the five Supernormal Powers (Abhiñña): Divine Eye (Dibbacakkhu). indulgence in (wrongful) rites and ceremonies (Silabbataparamasa). for by concentration. passions are lulled to sleep temporarily. Neither in heaven nor on earth does he find any genuine happiness. Eventually he gains ecstatic concentration and. hatred. restlessness and brooding and doubts are then temporarily inhibited. With his one-pointed mind which now resembles a polished mirror he looks at the world to get a correct view of life. enjoying the calmness and serenity of a one-pointed mind. It must not be understood that those supernormal powers are essential for Sainthood. Reminiscence of past births (Pubbenivasanussati-ñana). sloth and torpor. he chooses one that appeals to him most and intently keeps on developing Insight in that particular direction until that glorious day comes to him when he would realize Nibbana for the first time in his life. The five hindrances to progress — namely. doubts (Vicikiccha). Divine Ear (Dibhasota). .thoughts get ipso facto excluded from the mind. of these three characteristics. having destroyed the three Fetters — self-illusion (Sakkaya-ditthi). and where change and sorrow prevail there cannot be a permanent immortal soul. He comprehends that life is constantly changing and all conditioned things are transient. sense-desire. They may rise to the surface at unexpected moments. This is the third and the final stage on the Path of Nibbana. Whereupon. Both Discipline and Concentration are helpful to clear the Path of its obstacles but it is Insight (Vipassana Pañña) alone which enables one to see things as they truly are. becomes enwrapt in Jhana. Though the mind is now purified there still lies dormant in him the tendency to give vent to his passions. What is transient is therefore painful. and consequently reach the ultimate goal by completely annihilating the passions inhibited by Samadhi. for every form of pleasure is a prelude to pain.
uttering that paean of joy: "Goodwill and wisdom." . since he has no more desire for sensual pleasures. a Worthy One. realizing the unutterable bliss of Nibbana and like many an arahant of old. which bids men to look to nothing but their own efforts for salvation. far removed from the rebellious passions and defilements of the world. Huxley states — "Buddhism is a system which knows no God in the Western sense. The highest conduct on good morals based. till he attains Arhatship. After death he is reborn in the "Pure Abodes" (Suddhavasa) a congenial Brahma plane. Thereafter. which denies a soul to man. This maketh mortals pure. It is in the third state of Sainthood — Anagama (never-returner) that he completely discards the aforesaid two Fetters. encouraged by the unprecedented success of his endeavors." As T. not rank or wealth. Now the saintly pilgrim. makes his final advance and. mind by method trained. He is called a Sakadagami because he is reborn on earth only once in case he does not attain Arhatship. conceit (Mana). as a result of this glimpse of Nibbana. The Worthy One now stands on heights more than celestial. which refuses any efficacy to prayer and sacrifice. that a heavy burden of sorrow has been relinquished. that all forms of attachment have been totally annihilated.At this stage he is called a Sotapanna (stream-winner) — one who has entered the stream that leads to Nibbana. Summoning up fresh courage. which in its original purity knew nothing of vows of obedience and never sought the aid of the secular arm: yet spread over a considerable moiety of the world with marvelous rapidity — and is still the dominant creed of a large fraction of mankind. restlessness (Uddhacca). and ignorance (Avijja) — becomes a perfect Saint: an arahant. As he has not eradicated all Fetters he is reborn seven times at the most. destroying the remaining Fetters — namely. and that the Path to Nibbana has been trodden. the Pilgrim makes rapid progress and cultivating deeper Insight becomes a Sakadagami (onnce-returner) by weakening two more Fetters — namely Sense-desire (Kamaraga) and ill-will (Patigha). lust after life in Realms of Forms (Ruparaga) and Formless Realms (Aruparaga).H. Instantly he realizes that what was to be accomplished has been done. which counts the belief in immortality a blunder. he neither returns to this world nor does he seek birth in the celestial realms.
They sit with half closed eyes looking not more than a distance of three and half feet. keep the body erect. The Buddha also practiced concentration on respiration before He attained Enlightenment. It is of no importance which posture one may adopt provided the position is easy and relaxed. Sometimes they adopt the half position.Appendix Concentration on Respiration Anapana Sati Anapana Sati is mindfulness on respiration. Adopting a convenient posture. Easterners generally sit cross-legged with the body erect. . They sit placing the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. This harmless concentration may be practiced by any person irrespective of religious beliefs. Ana means inhalation and Apana exhalation. Those who find the cross-legged posture too difficult may sit comfortably in a chair or any other support sufficiently high to rest the legs on the ground. that is by simply placing the right foot on the left thigh or the left foot on the right thigh. This is the full position. Neck should be straightened so that the nose may be in a perpendicular line with the navel. Place the right hand over the left hand. Eyes may be closed or half-closed. Head should not be drooping. When the triangular position is assumed the whole body is wellbalanced. Buddhas usually adopt the full lotus position. Concentration on the breathing process leads to one-pointedness of the mind and ultimately to Insight which enables one to attain Sainthood or Arhatship.
One fully realizes impermanence. without strain.. middle and end). Now inhale through the nostrils normally. light in mind and body. Some prefer counting as it aide concentration while others prefer not to count. After practicing for a certain period a day might come when one may realize that this so-called body is supported by mere breath and that body perishes when breathing ceases. When making a short inhalation he knows: ' I make a short inhalation'. Exhale and pause for a moment.' 2. when making a long exhalation he knows. Later. Thus inhale and exhale concentrating on respiration. What is essential is concentration and not counting. which is secondary. without force. 'I will inhale.Before the practice. When one practices this concentration one feels very peaceful. It is clear that the object of this concentration on respiration is not merely to gain one-pointedness but also to cultivate Insight to obtain deliverance from suffering. But one need not be discouraged. Insight can then be developed to attain Arhatship. 'I make a long exhalation. Gradually one may increase the number of series — say five series of ten. when making a short exhalation he knows: 'I make a short exhalation. Exhale and count two. bad air from the lungs should be breathed out slowly through the mouth and then the mouth should be closed. While doing so one's mind may wander. Where there is change there cannot be a permanent entity or an immortal soul. clearly . 1. Clearly perceiving the entire breathing process (i. Count up to ten constantly concentrating on the breathing process without thinking of anything else.e. the beginning. Inhale and count three. In some discourses this simple and harmless method of respiration is described as follows: "Mindfully he inhales. mindfully he exhales. one may inhale and pause for a moment. thus he trains himself. concentrating merely on inhalation without counting.' 3. Mentally count one. When making a long inhalation he knows: 'I make a long inhalation'.
'I will inhale'. passion and aversion. Like a polished mirror is my stainless mind. I have now washed my mind and heart of anger. free from all evil thoughts My mind is pure and clean. ill will. Recite three times — Nammo Buddhaya — (Honor to the Buddha) Recite three times — Araham — (The Pure One) Recite: Buddham saranam gacchami — (I go to the Buddha for refuge) Dhamman saranam gacchami — (I go to the Dhamma for refuge) Sangham saranam gacchami — (I go to the Sangha for refuge)15 Think thus: My mind is temporarily pure. thus he trains himself. calming the respirations. 'I will exhale'. sympathetic joy and perfect equanimity. jealousy. thus he trains himself. thus he trains himself. envy. Think ten times: May I16 be well and happy! May I be free from suffering. worry and anger! . 4. cruelty. 'I will exhale'. free from all impurities. disease.perceiving the entire breathing process. As a clean and empty vessel is filled with pure water I now fill my clean heart and pure mind with peaceful and sublime thoughts of boundless loving-kindness over-flowing compassion. grief. Calming the respiration. " Meditation on Loving-kindness Metta Be still and peaceful. hatred and ignorance. free from lust. violence.
healthy and peaceful! Think thus: Now I charge every particle of my system. Think that all are your brothers and sisters. and fill them with thoughts of loving-kindness and wish them peace and happiness. a stronghold of morality. irrespective of class. West. What I have gained I now give unto others. fellow-beings in the ocean of life. animals and all living beings. I cut off all negative thoughts. self-confident. North. I am a stronghold. sympathetic joy for jealously. Think ten times: May I be well and happy! May I be free from suffering. men. creed. I return good for evil. I am peaceful and well-balanced in mind. grief. in the East. You are one with all. Now I am a fortress of loving. color or sex. Then think of all seen and unseen beings... individually or collectively. self-confident. You identify with all. Think of all your near and dear ones at home. above and below. disease. I have sublimated myself. lovingkindness for anger. a fortress of loving-kindness and compassion. with thoughts of boundless loving-kindness and compassion. compassion for cruelty. repeating May all beings be well and happy!. healthy and peaceful! Think: Mentally I create an aura of loving-kindness around me. I am the embodiment of loving-kindness and compassion. without any enmity or obstruction. from head to foot.kindness. living near and far. South. women. and radiate boundless loving-kindness. towards all. hostile vibrations. . ennobled myself. elevated myself. By means of this aura. I am nothing but lovingkindness and compassion. worry and anger! May I be strong.May I be strong. My whole body is saturated with loving-kindness and compassion. I am not affected by the evil vibrations of others.
May I be energetic. May I be wise and be able to see things as they truly are! May I see the light of Truth and lead others from darkness to light! May I be enlightened and be able to enlighten others! May I be able to give the benefit of my knowledge to others! (Panna — Wisdom) 5. May I be ever patient! May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others! May I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all! (Khanti — Patience) 7. Perfections Parami 1. words and deeds be pure! (Sila — Morality) 3. May I ever be kind. "May all beings be well and happy. May I not be selfish and self-possessive but selfless and disinterested! May I be able to sacrifice my pleasure for the sake of others! (Nekkhamma — Renunciation) 4. vigorous and persevering! May I strive diligently until I achieve my goal! May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount all obstacles! May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability! (Viriya — Energy) 6.Repeat ten times. May I be firm and resolute and have an iron will! May I be soft as a flower and firm as a rock! May I ever be high-principled! (Adhitthana — Determination) 9. May I be generous and helpful! (Dana — Generosity) 2." and wish them all peace and happiness. friendly and compassionate! May I be able to regard all as my brothers and sisters and be one with all! (Metta — Loving-kindness) . In the course of your daily life try to translate your thoughts into action as occasion demands. May I ever be truthful and honest! May I not hide the truth to be polite! May I never swerve from the path of Truth! (Sacca — Truthfulness) 8. May I be well-disciplined and refined in manners! May I be pure and clean in all my dealings! May my thoughts.
M. Bhikkhu Silacara 7. See Many Mansions and The World Within by Gina Cerminara. An Awakened or Enlightened One. 14. Culakamma Vibhanga Sutta — Majjhima Nikaya.E. unruffled and peaceful! May I gain a balanced mind! May I have perfect equanimity! (Upekkha — Equanimity) May I serve to be perfect! May I be perfect to serve! Notes 1. No. Compare the cinematograph film where the individual photographs give rise to a notion of movement. Craving associated with "Eternalism" (Sassataditthi) (Comy) 8. by Shwe Zan Aung (Pali Text Society. 11. Lit. 3. 10. Trans. 135. The Discipline. 13. Evidently the writer is referring to the state of an arahant after death. serene. The Meaning of Life 12. The Teaching. Craving associated with "Nihilism" (Ucchedaditthi) (Comy) 9. London) — Introduction p. 15.. 12. They are the enlightened disciples who have destroyed all passions. This introductory part may be omitted by non-Buddhists. 4. 5. See Compendium of Philosophy. the Worthy Ones. C. Thus who hath come. 2. 16. Here the term "I" is used in a conventional sense. . Joad. 6. May I ever be calm. Literally.10.
accesstoinsight. Founded in 1958. the BPS has published a wide variety of books and booklets covering a great range of topics. Its publications include accurate annotated translations of the Buddha's discourses.bps. Box 61 54. which has a vital message for people of all creeds.org/lib/authors/narada/nutshell. These works present Buddhism as it truly is — a dynamic force which has influenced receptive minds for the past 2500 years and is still as relevant today as it was when it first arose. as well as original contemporary expositions of Buddhist thought and practice.lk . standard reference works.The Buddhist Publication Society is an approved charity dedicated to making known the Teaching of the Buddha.html BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY P. Revised: Sunday 2006-06-18 http://www.O. Sangharaja Mawatha Kandy Sri Lanka » http://www.
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